Big Changes More Important Than Small Minds

Check out this article in the Scottsdale Republic showcasing the status quo sycophants of the Scottsdale Unified School District. Here is a link.

What planet do these chastisers of reform live on?

Superintendent Denise Birdwell is rightfully seeking key changes.  What else is she to do?  Accept mediocrity or in some cases tragic outcomes?

Like all school districts Scottsdale is no exception to the funding challenges imposed by conditions in the State of Arizona, both political and economic, over the past decade.  Scottsdale public schools also face potent competition from some of the best charter schools in the country such as BASIS Scottsdale and Great Hearts, as well as a bevy of private schools.

So the choice for Birdwell and the district’s Governing Board is simple:  innovate and improve.  Or wither and die a slow death.

Those who have been slow to adapt to the changing landscape, the educrats of inertia, don’t like the change agent that is Birdwell.  Nowhere is their recalcitrance more repugnant than when it comes to Coronado.  Once a point of pride in southern Scottsdale it’s now an impediment to a continuing renaissance of those neighborhoods.  Graduation rates and academic performance has been poor, to put it mildly.  So Birdwell decided to clean most of the deteriorating house.  Good for her.  And good for the parents and students who will benefit from this brand of leadership.  

If Birdwell can be criticized for anything it’s moving too slowly, but change in the archaic structure of too many public school districts is never easy.  We wish her good fortune.  Properly marketed Scottsdale public schools can find their better way to a better place as the “ultimate choice” in the marketplace.

The braniacs of BASIS are not for everyone.  Nor are the traditions of Great Hearts.  Or the uniforms and religiosity of Notre Dame.

Once upon a time the Scottsdale Unified School District was all that was good and right about its part of the world.  And in some places where turnaround stories like Supai have taken place it still is.  But it can’t be more evangelistic without leaders like Birdwell.

Keep preaching sister.  Keep preaching.